Socialpreneur & Co-founder of OpiS International
Nadiah Hanim Abdul Latif is a modern-day wonder woman with over 20 years of experience ranging from corporates to NGOs and humanitarian efforts. By day, she heads the strategy and programmes division at Yayasan Anak Bangsa Bisa, a foundation launched by the Indonesian multi-service platform Gojek in March 2020. The foundation, formed to help create more sustainable livelihoods for those who depend on daily income, offers timely assistance to those sharply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the side, Nadiah advocates for mothers, caregivers of children with special needs and vulnerable youths through numerous roles. An anchor with Bernama News Channel, she also serves as vice president of the Malaysian Rare Disorders Society. Nadiah is a regional representative for the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation, an assistant child protector for the Petaling District, and a Children’s Court advisor for Petaling Jaya. Last but certainly not least, she is the co-founder of OpiS International.
Founded in 2018, OpiS International is an impact-driven enterprise committed to redefining the norms of work-life balance. OpiS hopes to build resilient families by developing opportunities for parents with young children to learn, work and play together. By providing specially designed workshops and training sessions for families and corporations, OpiS shapes great mothers and fathers who are also productive workers.
Nadiah humbly admits that the enterprise would not have come to fruition without her fellow OpiS co-founders, Zarina and Azura Zainal. “OpiS started as an idea that sparked during a lunch conversation between three childhood friends,” she confesses. The trio of working mothers noticed a pattern of imbalance in gender stereotypes with career and family lives. “Often, our conversations would revolve around having to make sacrifices. For example, in pursuit of a successful career, one must sacrifice having a balanced family life,” Nadiah elaborates. Discontented about this reality, they went forth with OpiS.
“We were fortunate to be selected to participate in the IDEA Accelerator Programme by MaGIC and somehow ended up as one of the top three social enterprises during graduation,” Nadiah says. The first cohort of OpiSmums comprised 60 women who were home-based childcare providers, trained to achieve the Kursus Asuhan Permata Taska Rumah nursing course.
“The aim was to help them increase their household income and knowledge,” Nadiah explains. Extra modules were added on top of existing requirements, enabling these women to gain a more holistic education. “These mothers are still a part of our OpiS Community, and their resilience continues to inspire us. Since then, some have progressed to open childcare services, while others have branched into other enterprises during the pandemic.”
Covid-19 turned work-life balance on its head, with many struggling to manage finances, cope with work stress and home school children. “What we thought was a phase has now become a new norm,” Nadiah says, indicating why parents need access to resources like OpiS, which pivoted towards online support in 2020.
We wanted families to know that they are not alone. We worked alongside our partners to provide sessions on mental health, online schooling, the impact of lockdown on kids and parenting online. Other sessions focused on managing finances, maternal health and more.Nadiah Hanim Abdul Latif
Later that year, OpiS also extended efforts to engage children and to inform adults that digital literacy is a widening gap in families. Many parents are still unaware of the dangers and are ill-equipped to monitor their children’s digital encounters, highlighting the need for guidance.
Presently, OpiS reaches stakeholders through a modular three-part ecosystem, namely OpisTunity, OpiS Community and OpisKu. “OpisTunity is our learn-together arm, where we provide programmes from health and wellbeing to child rights and protection, alongside digital literacy,” Nadiah explains. Meanwhile, OpiS Community offers peer support online for all participants to continue to share their journey and offer encouragement to each other. “To date, we have multiple groups ranging from caregivers and early educators to working adults, parents and youths,” Nadiah details.
OpisKu is an effort to work with employers to champion family-friendly work-life experiences. “Our dream was to set up a hub where parents can work, and children can be present in a safe space, to play and learn,” the co-founder explains. She cites that many established co-working spaces often cater to child-free working adults, limiting parents’ options.
The OpiS co-working space now exists within the SS3 Creative Hub & Community Toy Library. “Half of the hub is a meeting and workspace, whilst the other is a quirky toy library. The back- end includes a counselling room and a play therapy space, which doubles up as a recording studio. It is also home to several impact partners committed to supporting healthy children and families,” Nadiah shares with pride.
“With the pandemic, human interactions have catapulted online,” the advocate emphasises. Nadiah is confident that the next step for OpiS is continued digital expansion; to help families find better communication strategies while pushing to protect children online. “There is much work to be done and it is a great opportunity for humanity to come together and build back better.”